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jhcarrell

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Reply with quote  #1 

Very recently, Tableau posted a link to a tutorial by Andy Kriebel on how to create animated radar charts using their product.  Link

[1463338342_thumb]

This was quickly followed up by a "Makeover Monday" in which a few people explored alternative ways to visualize the data (some more effective than others).  Link

[1463337158_thumb]

Chart type aside (because I think we'll all be in general agreement), I'd like to discuss the color palette of both the original and the alternative submissions as they all shared the same basic theme.

Background: Black
Data: Diverging Palette from Purple to Yellow

I am unaware of any definitive research on the effectiveness of dark backgrounds vs light, but I could see where a dark background might be preferable if it is being viewed in a dimly lit environment.

Personally, I find the line graph above somewhat hard to look at.  My gut tells me this might be due to the relatively high impact of the bold purple hue against the black background.  So, I decided to do a minor makeover myself to see if toning things down helped ... (see following post)


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"In the realm of data visualization, we face many challenges that are worth pursuing. Creating an effective radial gauge is not one of them. It is a fool’s errand. Do I strike you as a fool?" - Stephen Few
jhcarrell

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Reply with quote  #2 
GlobalWarmingMakeover.JPG    

Depending on the brightness and contrast settings of your display, the axis and text may appear a little on the light side, but this was a quick effort to improve this graph from a color palette perspective.

General thoughts and feedback are welcomed.

Jonathon


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"In the realm of data visualization, we face many challenges that are worth pursuing. Creating an effective radial gauge is not one of them. It is a fool’s errand. Do I strike you as a fool?" - Stephen Few
sfew

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Reply with quote  #3 
Jonathon,

The only defense of dark backgrounds on the screen that is backed by research that I've found applies to the situation that you mentioned. When you are viewing the screen in a darkened environment, a dark background works better because your eyes have adjusted to low light. Screens emit light and white light shining into your eyes when they've adjusted to the dark with dilated pupils is harsh on the eyes.

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Stephen Few
PeterRobinson

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Reply with quote  #4 

I find that when there's lots of whitespace I much prefer a darker background because the back-lit screens emit so much blue/white light it's very bright to look at. Even in a regular lit environment like an office the screen seems brighter than the ambient light so my eyes don't like them.

I find I would much rather read a book on paper than a back-lit screen like an ipad or laptop (even my kindle paperwhite has a backlit screen with I find tiring to read)

Stephen, do you know of any research into the different effects of the blue/white light from backlit screens compared to images on white paper?


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Peter Robinson
in Brisbane, Australia
sfew

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Reply with quote  #5 
Peter,

Offhand, I'm not aware of any studies that compare the effects of blue/white light from backlit screens compare to white paper. I'm curious--do you often read your Kindle in a darkened or low-lit room? It is defnitely true that, when your eyes have adjusted for darkness (i.e., pupils wide open to take in more light), a backlit screen with white light strains your eyes.

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Stephen Few
PeterRobinson

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Reply with quote  #6 

re the Kindle, no I read with a light on so the contrast is less, and I have the brightness turned down too. Actually I probably read more on my iPad because my Kindle doesn't do colour and I turn the brightness down quite a bit. Even with the brightness turned down, I still find the fine black print on stark white background tiring to read. Slightly less contrast seems to work better for me - black on a pale grey perhaps.

an interesting subject to think on, thanks.


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Peter Robinson
in Brisbane, Australia
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